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nick reynolds
09-26-2001, 05:25 PM
Its been a long year and I have been very busy, hense the reason I have not been posting.
I have just taken a look at the "NEW" rules and frankly I have come these conclutions.
1. Dean is now steping back from his announcements that he makes each year at the Nationals on how we have grown from the prior year.
This year he can announce how the Nationals have decreased by 35%.
2. Mentoring will end as there is now a distinct disadvantage of introducing other teams and Schools to FIRST.
3. The "G-P" has gone out the window and its now a Dog eat Dog competition, why would any member of another team want to help themselves be beaten in a regional. infact can we now expect to see a little sabotage in the pits?
4. I have said this before that the competition is "bent" towards the wealthy teams and that a team thats struggling with money and experience is now going to suffer even more. Teams like #38 could not afford the Disney package so they stayed out side to save funds and we all know how well this amazing team did. but because they tried to save funds and get as many of the team there as possible they will be penalized this year so "Disney" can squeeze every stinking cent they can. Like they dont make a HUGE profit from us all ready.
5. If FIRST has grown beyond the capacity of Disney then rather than change the format and make teams suffer maybe we should look at a new venue. If this became an option you can bet your speed controlers that Disney would have a change of heart.
6. If cost has become an issue then why not increase the entry fee's, our budget last year was $54.000 whats an extra $500.

kane
09-26-2001, 05:46 PM
more money for an entrance fee would not be good my team is always short on money that would restrict us more.

nick reynolds
09-26-2001, 05:48 PM
Sorry, run out of page space.
7. This odd/even thing is really stupid, what about teams that enter this year and are designated with an odd #, and assume they do well but not well enough to score enough points to be one of the odd teams to go to the "NATIONALS" Then the following year the seniors who graduated this year would not have had that experience of Florida.
8. Just because some teams were able to book reservations in a week or two doesnt mean that every one can. some teams are from further away like Vermont, Origon, Hawaii... to name a few. The Team in Hawaii or Brazil cant drive.
9. Teams that ship direct from the regionals to Florida will need to know in advance if they are going so they can arrange to get their robot there on time. these things have to be booked.
10. What happens if we as an Odd team hook up with an Even# team and if its not our turn to go to Florida then we skip that year but we still get to go as the Even team. Now theres a Thought....

ColleenShaver
09-26-2001, 08:42 PM
I read your first few comments Nick- and this is all I have to say-

Rule and qualification changes in FIRST doesn't change the PEOPLE involved in FIRST.

We are still the same friendly people focused on inspiring kids about what science, technology, and the real world are about. Just because we're having to qualify like any other 'sports' team, doesn't mean we'll suddenly change attitudes.

It is the people that make this program, and it's those people, not rules, that make it good or bad.

This is my 7th year. I was there in the one-on-one-on-one days, I was there in the 2v2, and the 4v0 and now into the era of eliminatory games.

I've grown as a person through FIRST, I've learned the value of friendly competition, of helping another team cause later on you just might need the favor returned, of seeing things for what they were. That it's not the game that matters, but the road to the game, your attitude towards it, and the friends you make along the way.

And most importantly, it's only a game.

This is a competition, so let's compete. We are the same graciously professional people we were last year. It wasn't the program that was graciously professional, it isn't the program's attitude towards robotics that puts us in a different class from the likes of Battlebots and others.

Everyone wants to win, just like every year. It's nice to win. But changing rules does not change people or their attitudes.

And it's a sad day in FIRST if it did- cause that means the people in this program aren't all I had them cracked up to be.

Nate Smith
09-26-2001, 08:43 PM
I will readily admit that I will most likely step on a few toes in my comments on this message. However, it saddens me to see that a large number of the comments on the new format of getting to nationals seem to be of the "my team won't get to go, but team X will" variety, even while sometimes in the guise of a more "noble" "what will this do to FIRST?" argument.

Of course, I also do not mean to say that, in quoting Nick's message throughout my reply, that he does this more or less than some others I have seen on this site. Rather, he nicely separates the arguments that I have commonly seen on this site by numbering each individual issue, so it is easier to form a reply.

So without any more disclaimers, here goes...


4. I have said this before that the competition is "bent" towards the wealthy teams and that a team thats struggling with money and experience is now going to suffer even more. Teams like #38 could not afford the Disney package so they stayed out side to save funds and we all know how well this amazing team did. but because they tried to save funds and get as many of the team there as possible they will be penalized this year so "Disney" can squeeze every stinking cent they can. Like they dont make a HUGE profit from us all ready.
I'm guessing here you're referring to the "event fee" charged to the teams who register outside the Disney package. I agree totally with FIRST and Disney's motivation for doing this. Basically, it breaks down to this:
-Team A pays the Disney package rate, which includes, as has been previously mentioned, the cost of the team party and transportation to and from the site from their hotel.
-Team B stays at a hotel that Disney has a FIRST competition package for, but book the arrangements on their own. So, they can still use the busses that Disney provides to and from the competition site.
-Because Team B did not book within the Disney package, Team A is effectively paying for Team B to travel to and from the competition site, and to attend the team party!
Situations like this are what the "event fee" is trying to handle, keeping one team from having to pay for another using the services provided by Disney for the competition.
Also, seeing the amount of work that goes into the setup that Disney provides, how much money are they actually making? They shift large numbers of Disney staff from the Epcot area to the competition "village," set up(and air condition!) some of the largest tents I've ever seen, run extra busses to and from not only their own hotels, but also others nearby, and provide massive amounts of power, all while charging teams not much more per person than it would cost to get the meals, rooms, and park passes separately. And then, on top of all that, they shut down one of their parks for most of one afternoon and night to prepare for and give us the team party at the end of the event!
5. If FIRST has grown beyond the capacity of Disney then rather than change the format and make teams suffer maybe we should look at a new venue. If this became an option you can bet your speed controlers that Disney would have a change of heart.

At this point, moving from Disney for 2002 is not an option. Planning for 2002 started while we were still there for 2001, if not sooner. Also, see my comments above on how much Disney provides for us by having the event there. What other one organization could we move the event to that could offer nearly that much, without having to deal with several different groups. My understanding of the FIRST/Disney relationship is that they have very few people at Disney that FIRST contacts directly, and then those Disney "heads" pass along the information to the necessary departments within Disney, and vice versa.
6. If cost has become an issue then why not increase the entry fee's, our budget last year was $54.000 whats an extra $500.
For some teams who can barely scrape the money together to compete as it is, an extra $500 could be the difference between competing and not competing.
8. Just because some teams were able to book reservations in a week or two doesnt mean that every one can. some teams are from further away like Vermont, Origon, Hawaii... to name a few. The Team in Hawaii or Brazil cant drive.
As I said in another post, FIRST teams are trying to get the same status as sports teams in many schools. The prospect of having to qualify, and perhaps rush for last-minute fundraising, brings them one step closer to being on the same "playing field" as sports teams. Hopefully, the school/sponsor/community will rally behind a team who qualifies in order to help them get the money they need to attend. I will admit that for some of the teams who need to travel more of a distance, it will be harder, but by no means impossible. As I've also mentioned before, budget and fundraise as if you had already qualified for nationals, and then if you don't make it, put the money aside for next year.
9. Teams that ship direct from the regionals to Florida will need to know in advance if they are going so they can arrange to get their robot there on time. these things have to be booked.

Shipping the machines, I believe, will be the least of the issues a team has to deal with when they get a last-minute nationals slot. With a minimum of 2 weeks between the last set of regionals and nationals, any ground shipper would have more than enough time to get a crated robot across the country. I'm sure that FIRST will even be willing to make arrival deadline exceptions for those teams who qualify through the last set of regionals.
10. What happens if we as an Odd team hook up with an Even# team and if its not our turn to go to Florida then we skip that year but we still get to go as the Even team. Now theres a Thought....
While there is nothing that keeps you from going to Nationals as part of another team if your team is not able to attend, the question remains: are you going to Nationals to help fulfill the mission of FIRST, or are you going for yourself? My suggestion to those who are still planning to take at least themselves, if not part of their team, to nationals if their team is not able to compete is that you contact FIRST about volunteering at the event. As FRCOps mentioned in another post, they only have a staff of about 20 people, with even less than that working on FRC full time, so every person who volunteers is helping them out greatly. Based on my own experiences as a volunteer at events, I feel you also get a different perspective on what it takes to pull an event together after volunteering, and perhaps realize a bit more why FIRST does things the way they do at times, no matter how much the teams may complain about it.

Carolyn Duncan
09-26-2001, 11:45 PM
I just want to throw some thoughts into the mix. These are in no particular order.
It was mentioned that the people are what make FIRST G-P, that's not neccesarily true. Sure, the people who have been around for years will try to communicate the idea, newbies will get less and less every year until it gets phased out.
As for closing down Epcot for our team party. Disney kept the park open to it's regular guests for an hour after our party started, I believe. And if I'm not mistaken that's what time they normally close, so yes, tey did allow us access to the park "after hours" so to say, but we didn't chase away business. I am not infalible, this info may be wrong.
This idea of odd/even stuff is jsut that. It's wack. For the most part the same people will be competing against each other year after year after year after... get it? Kinda gets old doesn't it, doesn't it? though the random selection last year wasn't the greatest, there was still more chance to play with more teams. There will become groups of oddies and evens who work together and get a huge advantage, maybe like having conferences ie east and west.
If this is only a game we are playing then why does it matter who wins? In this case it matters if you want to go to the Championships. I guess if we're changing the name it should be the odd or even year Champs.
I think the A&E special on us affected the way the brains of FIRST turned. They tried to get people to say they were in it to win etc. Maybe it was a precursor, I don't know.
The bigest point I wanted to make was one that I stated awhile back and everyone ignored it. Why are we, in effect, being punished for completing our homework assignment from Dean? Remember that? He wanted more colleg teams in FIRST. Yeah, he can't say he didn't think he would get this kind of response. He is a celebrity to most FIRSTers, of course we would do whatever we could to complete the assignment.
Oh well, /rant & rave. That's enough for now.

Anne Lam
09-27-2001, 01:23 AM
True FIRST-ers expect changes every year, and FIRST's qualifications to register for the Nats does not at all reflect any alteration or compromise in its mission to educate and inspire students in the fields science and technology. It's true that this year it will be harder for many teams to partake in the championship event, but this way I believe FIRST is giving a pat on the back and sort of a 'reward' for teams that did well in past and current regionals. Besides, as FIRST has stated in it's website, "It is the process rather than product or performance that is at the core of what makes FIRST unique." We shouldn't look at the qualification process as FIRST favoring certain teams, they just needed to do what they had to do because the Nats were getting a little bit too big to handle. I should hope that returning teams will teach the rookies the philosophy of 'gracious professionalism', and thus eliminating mentalities of sabataging anyone in the pits. I support FIRST's method of limiting the number of teams to attend, even though I don't agree with it whole-heartedly. I mean it could be worse. Do the best you can in any regional you decide to go to if you are not qualilified to go to the nats this year, and take advantage of all learning opportunities that comes. Isn't that more important than competing? Anyway those are just my own personal thoughts.

Joe Johnson
09-27-2001, 10:30 AM
IMHO:

Mentoring will live on more than ever.

FIRST is full of great people, that will not change.

If we could make a go of last year's game, we can handle anything!

I don't think that teams will all of a sudden become wack-o win at all cost teams just because there is a trip to the Nationals at stake.

I just don't see it.

Joe J.

P.S. Even if a team WANTS to be cut-throat there is a pretty good incentive not to be, perhaps more incentive than ever. the fact that JUDGED awards count. If you want to go to the Nationals, it is in your interest to work and play well with others.